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Still Struggling 4: “We are a church who has a mission to be the presence of Christ in downtown St. Petersburg.”

September 24, 2010

This email was written by a member of the Cathedral’s Outreach Committee who does a great deal of volunteer work on behalf of the homeless both with Celebrate Outreach! and with the Salvation Army One-Stop’s “Our Daily Bread.” Since she just gave me permission to publish it, I’m doing so now.

Also be sure to read the previous three posts in this series, here, here, and here; check out the comments as well. And I encourage anyone else with an opinion on this subject to post a comment or if you’d prefer to be more anonymous, write me an email (at jmcelroy@spcathedral.com) and I can post your opinion for you. But please weigh in and when you do, please recognize how much all those involved in this conversation have their hearts oriented toward God and are simply struggling to know how best to do God’s will.

I am absolutely against putting up a no tresspass sign at St Peter’s. We are not a business that needs to protect it self from tresspassers. We are a church who has a mission to be the presence of Christ in downtown St Petersburg. Are we temporarily deaf, dumb and blind to our brothers and sisters that are at our doorstep? In Mathew 25:45 “Inasmuch as ye did it not to the least of these, ye did it not to me” This means to me that we are to see Christ in each of these and treat them accordingly. Please help, I feel we are back to square one. We are no farther along now than when [a previous member of the Cathedral leadership] stepped out on Christmas Eve and cursed the homeless lying there. I remember we put up a sign then. That did not stop or help the homeless then and it won’t help now.

We are going along with the city who are concentrating their efforts to criminilize the homeless and not addressing the problems of a lack of affordable housing. This will set our relationships with the homelss back. To be arrested for tresspassing will push them back down the ladder that they are desperately trying to climb.  I and others are working diligently one on one to advocate with the homeless each and every day of the week. Let us all put our efforts into reaching out, helping up, walking and talking with our brothers and sisters. Show respect for ourselves and them by speaking with them. Tell them what we need and find out what they need. How can we be a Jubilee Center, an example to other churches on how to run programs that serve our community and work for social justice, when we push away the persons that have been placed on our door steps? If Jesus were here at St Peter’s would he put up a tresspass sign? Well I know that Jesus is here in everyone of us. He is working through us. We are his hands, his body, his love and compassion. Please hear and understand me. This is my personal calling. I was appalled at our meeting tonight when I heard the decision of the Chapter to put up this sign. I wish to meet with you as soon as possible. I understand there is to be a special meeting to discuss this and I will be there. I love St Peter’s , I love all of you and I am blessed to be here and I look on this as an opportunity for growth for all of us, with God’s help.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Adams permalink
    September 24, 2010 10:59 am

    I concur. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do. If this is the face of Christ that we choose to show the city and the world, then I will have to go elsewhere.

Trackbacks

  1. Still Struggling 6: “Not about just the homeless” « Cathedral Crossings
  2. Lord, Save Us (from your followers) « Cathedral Crossings

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